Monday, August 11, 2014

Date Night (in a can)

Last year for for Christmas I gave my sister and her husband six date nights.  With money being tight while my brother-in-law is doing his dental surgery residency I thought it would be an easy, fun, and inexpensive way for them to spend time together at home after their kids went to bed.  I packaged each date in a large #10 food storage can that I wrapped with a "date night" label.

Each date contained an activity and a snack.  Initially I thought I would fill the cans with healthy snacks and treats since I knew my sister would appreciate that but then thought I better add some of my brother-in-laws favorite snacks too.  I bought the movies on blue-ray and I was glad I spent the extra money on them because I later learned that a regular DVD case wouldn't fit in the cans.  The blue-rays slightly smaller size were perfect.

This is what each can contained:

Date #1: Movie (comedy) and a sweet and salty snack.

Date #2: Movie (chick flick) and a sweet and salty snack.

Date #3 Movie (Action) and a sweet and salty snack.

Date #4: Game and snacks

Date #5: Game and snack

Date #6: Sharing memories and eating smores.

For this date I suggested that they could tell each other stories going to scout or girls camp growing up while they ate their smores.  I also included a list of fun questions they could ask each other that I found here.  I cut the papers down to a size that would fit in the can and made a cute little folder for them to go inside.

After I filled each can I added an expiration label to each lid depending on when the food in the can expired so they would know when to use each can by.  I placed all six cans into a box and they were ready to wrap and ship.

These make a fun homade gift for Christmas and could even be used for a unique wedding gift.

Want to make your own date night gift?  Feel free to use my label below.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lace Birthday Crown

Last year my daughter woke up on the day of her seventh birthday party and asked me where her birthday crown was.

Birthday crown?  Ooops.

I didn't know she was expecting a crown for her birthday.  We've never had one before and she never mentioned it.  Funny the ideas kids get in their heads.  She took matters into her own hands though and created a lovely purple crown for herself out of construction paper.

For her birthday this year I made sure not to forget the crown.  I decided I wanted to make a crown that was white and with a little searching on Pinterest I came across this post for lace crowns which I thought was perfect!

This lace crown turned out lovely.

I bought my lace at JoAnns along with some Aleene's Fabric Stiffener.  I saturated the lace in the fabric stiffener, wrung out the excess, and laid my lace flat to dry on some wax paper overnight.

I was surprised to find how stiff my lace was the next day.  This stuff really works!  I wrapped my lace into a circle, overlapping at the ends, and glued it closed with some tacky glue.

The birthday girl loved her crown!

She wore it all day.  (And especially while enjoying her very own dish of apple crisp--the birthday girls request.)

I think we'll save this sweet little crown to enjoy on next year's birthday too.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Big Floor Pillows--Tutorial

Be sure to stop by Cut Out and Keep this week.  They're featuring my book Quiet Book Patterns as the book of the week!  You'll find my author interview, a free sample project (along with template), and you can also enter to win a copy of my book.  Find it all here.  -Amy
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I needed a little something more to add to our reading nook to make it extra cozy.  I decided that some big floor pillows would do just the trick.  I had originally made some giant floor pillows (which I spied on Pinterest) for the boys to lay down on while watching movies but I needed something a little smaller.

I had a lot of fun picking out some happy-looking fabrics for this little corner of our home.  I first cut out some 20x20 squares and 4 strips that measured 5x20.

I then took one of my large squares and laid the strips along the edges, right sides together, pinning them in place.

Since the corners overlap when lying flat you'll have to lift them up and pin them together.

I sewed three of the corners together first.  You'll want to keep one open for later.

Then I sewed the contrasting edges together.

I found the trickiest part to be taking this piece and pinning the top square to the edges of the strips. 

Once that is sewn then turn it right side out and use that one corner that wasn't sewn shut to stuff the pillow with batting.  Enlist some help--your kids will think it's fun!  Plus, it takes lots and lots of batting!

When it's stuffed to the firmness that you like you can hand stitch the last corner shut and--viola!  You have a great floor pillow!

These floor pillows were the perfect addition to make our reading nook a cozy place to cuddle up and read.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cozy Reading Nook

I mentioned in a previous post that we left a beautiful Southern home last summer to reside in the desert.  One of my favorite little corners of our old home was the reading nook I created. We had a small loft that was the perfect size.  

Plus there was great natural light--perfect for reading.  It was colorful and inviting with lots of big, comfy pillows.

We had a basket for comic books, a special place for our little Beatrix Potter collection, and . . .

a bin of board books for baby H to grab.

Perhaps my very favorite part were these framed children's book illustrations.  Each one of them represents the name of one of my boys.

There are so many things I miss about our old house but this little corner tops the list.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

14 Weeks to Beautiful Photos with Kensie M

I have been interested in photography for a long time.  Back in high school I took a photography class but much of the information I learned about F-stops and shutter speeds went in one ear and out the other since all I had to work with was a point and shoot.  (But the dark room sure was a lot of fun!)  

Almost 2 years ago my wonderful husband surprised me with my first big girl camera.  I can tell a difference with my pictures--but I know that I can do so much more if I would take the time to learn!  One of my goals this year is to do a photography challenge to help my photography skills.  

Enter my good friend, Kensie.  Kensie is an amazing photographer--she's actually amazing at pretty much everything that she does.  She took our family pictures a few years back and I just love them.

Starting next Monday, June 2, she is hosting a blog series called 14 Weeks to Beautiful Photos

Each week she will feature a guest photographer that will blog about a new topic.  There will be challenges and giveaways as well.  I am so excited to be following along and working on the challenges.  And did I mention it's all FREE?  Yea!

So go check it out and spread the word!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family History Wall

A few years ago the seedling of an idea began to grow in my mind.  I wanted to create a space in our home featuring our family history.  After years of planning and collecting--and altering plans because of moves--my plans are coming to life.  It's not in its final form by any means.  I still would like to collect pictures to add--but it's a start.

Here are some of the items I've hung so far:

Engagement photos of my parents and my in-laws
Four generation photo of me when I was a baby
Handkerchief which belonged to my great grandma

Teething ring that belonged to my husband's uncle who died as a child

State of Oklahoma (where we lived for 9 years)-- I bought the shape and cut it with my Silhouette

Watercolor map of our town in North Carolina--done on this great site

Scripture--Joshua 24:15
Picture of an LDS temple
Family Tree (cut from my Silhouette)
Copy of a list of family goals written by my grandparents years ago-- 4 things we will do daily, weekly, monthly and yearly

4 blank frames . . . which I will eventually add silhouettes of my boys (using this method)

I love how this all came together and I am excited to add to it--hopefully some wedding/engagement photos of our grandparents.  Because we believe that families can be linked together forever I want my boys to know where they came from.  This is just one small step I've made to share that with them.  

What do you do to share your family history with your children and others?


Monday, May 19, 2014

How to Make a Fabric Quiet Book Cover

Want to make a fabric cover for your quiet book?  I gave some brief instructions a few years ago how I made this cover but with all the extra quiet book pages I've sewn over the past few years I needed a few more covers, and why not make them all matching while I'm at it?  Something simple and sturdy to keep all my pages contained.

This is what I came up with:

I used quilted fabric to make my covers nice and thick and added two big chunky buttons just for fun.

All the pages are held together inside using three 1" binder rings looped through buttons holes in the cover.

The back has a nice big zippered pocket to hold any loose pieces.

I love to see my quiet book pages all neatly bound together sitting on the shelf.

Ready and waiting for little hands to come and play.

Want to make your own fabric quiet book cover?  Follow the directions below:

This cover is measured to fit my 7" x 8.5" quiet book pages.  Feel free to adjust the sizing to fit your own page dimensions.

Cut a 10.5" x 42" piece of fabric.  Fold in half.  Using a fabric pencil or marker, mark your fabric as indicated below.

Unfold fabric and cut along the 5 inch line marked along with a little "V" snip on each end.  This is where your zipper will go.  Fold the fabric toward the back creating a 5/8" opening.  Press flat with your iron.

Lay a 7" zipper on the wrong side of fabric over zipper opening, pull tab facing down.  Pin zipper and sew around opening to secure zipper in place.  Yeah!  You have the zipper done.  The hardest part is over.

Place a quiet book page on top of  the cover and center it over the 1.25" area.  Use a fabric pencil or marker to mark where the holes are onto your cover.

Using the place holding marks in the above step, place six 5/8" marks as shown below.

Using the button hole setting on your sewing machine create six button holes where your 5/8" marks are.  Carefully snip open button holes once done.

Unzip the zipper (this is important) and fold the quiet book cover in half.  Pin raw edges and sew at 1/4" (don't sew along the fold.)

Clip corners (be careful to not clip too close to the stitching).  This will help the corner lay better.

Now turn your cover right-side-out  through the zipper opening.

Use and iron to press your cover flat.  Stitch along your three marked lines from top to bottom.

Add a velcro closure to book cover and flap.

Sew buttons onto flap.

Insert quiet book pages into book by looping 1" binder rings through the button holes and quiet book pages.

Lovely little quiet books all done!